According to the FAA, there is something special in the air over DFW and Love Field. The agency announced late last week that it has rolled out one component of its Next Generation Air Transportation System (“NextGen”) in Dallas. The plan, as fully implemented, contemplates changing from radar-based air traffic control to satellite or GPS-based systems. It will be a decade or more before the new structure is fully in place, and it’s certainly not without its critics and challenges. For now, however, the FAA has initiated procedures at certain airports including, as of Wednesday, DFW International Airport and Dallas Love Field.
The measures that have been started reportedly allow planes to fly more direct routes as compared to the previous system, which required planes to hit certain points before turning to their destination airport, and to glide on approach rather than use the current step down process. The move should save time, reduce fuel costs for the airlines since airplanes will fly fewer miles and cut carbon emissions to the benefit of everyone. The change should also help keep flights on time by streamlining departures and arrivals. The FAA claims that it saw benefits overnight after implementing some 80 of the new procedures in Dallas. If all goes as planned, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines should gain from the new plan. Hopefully the rest of us will as well.